11/15/2010, 00.00
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Unemployment around 10 per cent, very thin social safety net

According to an official study, about 9.4 per cent of Indians have been unemployed for six months or more. Farming and fishing employ more than half of the workforce. However, most are self-employed and only 15 per cent have access to some form of social security.
New Delhi (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Almost one Indian in ten is jobless, a recent study by the federal Labour Bureau found. The survey, which was conducted among some 46,000 households in 28 states all over the country, also found that over 85 per cent of Indians had no access to social security.

Covering the period 2009-2010, the study surveyed people between 15 and 59 years old in 300 districts. It found that 9.4 per cent of the people were unemployed for more than six months, with a height of 11 per cent in rural areas compared to 7.3 per cent in urban areas. Joblessness among women was also higher than among men.

About 45.5 per cent of the unemployed worked in farming, forestry and fishing. Another 7.5 per cent worked in the construction industry, and 9 per cent were in manufacturing. Agriculture (farming, forestry and fishing) employed the largest proportion of workers at about 57.6 per cent against 7 per cent in construction, 6.7 per cent in manufacturing and 6 per cent in social services.

More than 70 per cent of those working were small merchants, artisans and farmers, plus other smaller groups of the self-employed. Only 17 per cent was a regular wage earner.

The survey also showed that unemployment in rural areas was down compared to the past.

However, unemployment data are not clear-cut. Different surveys have pegged India's unemployment rate at between 2.8 to more than 10 per cent.

Some analysts actually contend that the actual figure is much higher since surveys do not take into account underemployment, i.e. those who have given up looking for work or are part-timers seeking full-time posts.

Nevertheless, the most alarming fact is the inadequate social safety net, and the high number of workers who have no social security.

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